Flanked by his defense attorneys, Jason Young appeared in the Wake County Courthouse today for the first time since Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens declared a mistrial in a lengthy criminal case in which Young stood accused of murdering his pregnant wife, Michelle Fisher Young, and their unborn son.
In early June, Young went on trial for first degree murder in the death of his 29-year-old wife. After three weeks of emotional testimony, expert witnesses, and forensic science and evidence, the jury informed the court that they were immovably hung.
Today, District Attorney Colon Willoughby announced his office would retry Jason Young. A new trial date has been set for Oct. 10, 2011.
Nearly five years ago, the gruesome murder of Michelle Young shook her Raleigh, N.C., community to its core and shocked the Youngs' families and their close-knit circle of friends, most of whom met while undergraduate students at N.C. State University in Raleigh.
From the outside, it appeared Jason and Michelle Young had it all. They were a young couple starting a family and living in a new home in the suburban Enchanted Oaks neighborhood. But as dozens of witnesses took the stand, both the prosecution and defense painted a much different picture. A portrait of a marriage riddled with infidelity and deceit quickly emerged.
The prosecution called on two women who said they had sexual relationships with Jason Young in the months leading up to the murder of his wife. Carol Ann Sowerby, Young's childhood friend, tearfully recalled details of a sexual encounter in the Youngs' Enchanted Oaks home while she was visiting the residence and Michelle was out of town. Michelle Money, a college friend and Alpha Delta Pi sorority sister of Michelle Young, recounted a lengthy affair that culminated in romantic tryst with Jason Young at her Florida home while her own husband was away on business.
Despite the admissions of infidelity, defense attorneys Mike Klinkosum and Bryan Collins contended that Jason Young did not murder his wife. The defense argued that the mystery behind the young mother's death remains unsolved and that the killers are still on the loose.
Meanwhile, prosecutors Becky Holt and David Saaks maintained that because of marital troubles, dissatisfactions and tensions, Jason Young plotted to kill his wife, a star employee at Progress Energy. They alleged that Jason Young first tried to strangle his wife, but when she fought back a bloody fight ensued.
Michelle's lifeless body was found by her sister, Meredith Fisher, on Nov. 3, 2006. Fisher discovered her sister face down in a pool of her own blood in the Youngs' master bedroom. The couple's 2-year-old daughter, Cassidy, was nearby and unharmed. But the toddler's tiny, bloody footprints could be seen in the bedroom and adjacent bathroom.
In a rare move, Jason Young took the stand in his own defense and denied having any involvement with his wife's murder. The medical salesman told the court he was away on a business trip and staying at a Hampton Inn in Hillsville, Va., during the time his wife was bludgeoned to death.
Prosecutors argued that on the night of the murder, Young left the hotel shortly after midnight, drove back to Raleigh, killed his wife and returned to Virginia in time for his business meeting.
The divided jury deliberated over the course of three days. The deadlock resulted in eight votes in favor of acquittal and four for conviction.
Judge Stephens set a $900,000 secured bond for Jason Young.